Chad Valley has launched a #100daysofplay that calls upon parents across the country to share their play time ideas via social media.
The online guide includes 100 play ideas as well as other play inspiration for parents who may be stuck for ideas and in need of a little inspiration.
Jenni has teamed up with Chad Valley and has written her own chapter for the guide to help parents bring the fun back into playtime.
Having a young daughter herself, Jenni is fully aware of how important it is to keep ideas fresh and fun for children and chats to Female First about dressing up, importance of being active and her future career plans.
Hi Jenni! You are working with Chad Valley to launch #100daysofplay. Could you tell us a little more about this?
Parents will know that children’s attention spans are quite minimal and they become bored after around half an hour and it’s difficult to keep trying to create games. So Chad Valley have come up with this new booklet which has lots of tips from parents sharing ideas and has the best 100 play time tips and advice allowing for different and new activities for your children. My Daughter, Ella, loves to serve me at her invisible shop but there are only so many times that we can play.
You are writing your own chapter for the play time ideas guide. Could you share a couple of your ideas?
I have very simple ideas (laughs) but these are the type of games that seem to work. Sometimes the simplest things are the one that are embraced. Ella loves to pretend that she’s a shopkeeper- but it’s a very expensive shop, everything is £2, even 1 apple, so I am trying to teach her the value of money too. We do a lot of dressing up- Ella has an obsession with hair accessories, we also play tennis for around 45 minutes a day in the kitchen, but with a soft ball! Ella thinks the ball is supposed to hit the racket, so she thinks you’re silly if you throw the ball and she misses it (laughs). So these are simple games that keep us entertained.
How do you come up with fun and creative activities for children?
You don’t need to buy everything to come up with ideas. You can buy toys that can help them with their imagination. Ella has a tiny kitchen and she cooks when I am cooking. My cooking is putting things in a microwave, opening a bag of lettuce, but she pretends to make boiled eggs, omelettes and casserole! I think toys that help to use their imagination are the best. Also, they learn from other children, if we’re over at a friend’s house Ella will find a new game or something that she loves, and before you know it you’re doing that at home as well.
Why did you want to be involved in this project?
I know Chad Valley toys very well and it relates very well to my life and I love doing something that will benefit my daughter which I think this will.
Have you always been a keen advocate for children leading a healthy and active lifestyle?
Yes and particularly now I am a parent. But I have always encouraged a healthy lifestyle- I think it’s brilliant that there is more focus on everyone to be healthier and active. I love it that more people are running, in the gym, swimming and even children’s programmes are about dancing and jumping. I think it’s really important. I’m not against children watching television, my daughter has learned a lot from watching TV but just not allowing your children to sit around and watch it all day.
Parents can share their ideas via social media- How has the response been from parents so far?
We’ve had a brilliant response from parents and the hashtag ‘100 days of play’ on social media but we will see once the booklet is released today.
Why do you think parents turn to the internet for ideas?
The internet is the greatest creation ever! In 2011 I became a mum and I had no idea what I was doing. I googled everything, my husband even googled everything! Sometimes you get things that aren’t very helpful online, but there are forums for parents sharing their concerns and advice, which is great. The idea of sharing with other parents is brilliant.
Experts reveal that just 15 minutes of play a day can encourage healthy childhood development. Is this something parents should keep in mind when encouraging their children to be active?
If I’m busy I will also try to spend 15 minutes a day playing games with Ella. There are some days that are just really busy but I have to put my phone down and get Ella moving and playing. Ella even takes my phone away! Sometimes she’s not interested once her dad arrives home (laughs). Even if it’s a story before bed, that time is so important and you’ll regret it if you don’t spend that time together now.
Will you ensure that your daughter is active from an early age?
She loves tennis- James and I are rubbish but we do love it too! When we were on our holiday, James and I would play tennis and Ella went to the kids club and she would see us playing, so afterwards she would want to get involved. Whatever her mummy and daddy like she also really enjoys. She loves, loves, loves swimming as well as running! I’m not being a ‘show off’ mum by saying that but she is very fast, although she has very unusual running skill (laughs). Even if it’s raining and cold outside she still wants to be outside.
How can parents find the right balance of fun but still focus on the physical aspect?
I think you should really try and be outside- it’s good to be outdoors and get some fresh air. I know it’s difficult with the weather sometimes, but even if you go for a walk in the rain you can get your umbrella and your wellies. Ella loves putting on her wellies and jumping in puddles because Peppa Pig does it. But I don’t mind as she’s getting fresh air, running around and it gets her tired too. If we’re playing games inside, I make sure that we have enough space so that we can be active indoors.
What’s next on the agenda?
I work at Heart Radio and I do the early breakfast show. I help people who are doing the night shift get through that as well as the early risers. I work for This Morning and the National Lottery. My new fitness range is just about to be launched which is nice.
Jenni Falconer launches the Playtime Pocketbook by Chad Valley from Argos – an online guide filled with 100 playtime ideas created by parents for parents, visit: www.argos.co.uk/chadvalley